With the many competing demands of work or school, family, and seemingly never ending to-do lists, many of us may feel like there are simply not enough hours in the day. It can feel like a constant challenge to maintain a sense of balance and keep up with all of our responsibilities and relationships. However, maybe the issue is not truly having a shortage of time, but needing to develop more awareness and intentionality over where you are investing your time each day.
In this article we will look at time management skills, why they are so important, and small steps you can begin taking towards more effective time management.
Why is Time Management Important?
Time management skills are extremely important, not only for task completion and being able to move towards our goals, but also for our mental and emotional health. One study found that developing time management skills is linked with reduced levels of anxiety and depression, and improved sleep quality. Many individuals may find that planning ahead and adopting a schedule helps them to keep stress levels in check and maintain positive mental health.
For more information about time management as well as other mental health topics, visit https://www.betterhelp.com/ca/time%20management/.
Now let’s take a look at several simple strategies that you might consider trying for more effective time management.
4 Steps Towards Improved Time Management
1. Determine where your time is currently going.
The first step in moving towards more effective time management is assessing where your time is currently going. Make a list of how much time you spend on each task and activity each day or week. You can also use apps such as RescueTime and Toggl to help you track how you spend your time throughout your week.
Once you have an accurate picture of where your time is going, think about how this may or may not be in alignment with your values. Is there anything you can take a step back from or cut out? Consider what is truly the most important to you, and how you might re-organize your days around what you value the most.
2. Utilize to-do lists and set priorities.
It can be intimidating to look at a long to-do list, and just not even know where to begin. When you write out your to-do list for the day, mark 3-5 tasks that are the most important to focus on today. This assures that you are not swayed by more enjoyable tasks on the list but are focusing on the things that are most pressing at the current time.
On to-do lists, you can also try breaking up large tasks into smaller pieces. For example, instead of writing ‘blog post’ on your to-do list, you might write ‘decide on topic’ and ‘gather pictures for blog post’ for today. This can prevent the task from appearing too overwhelming to begin, and allows you to focus on celebrating each small step you are taking towards meeting your goal.
3. Set time blocks for each task.
Setting defined amounts of time to complete a task can enhance focus and motivation. For example, you might allot yourself 10am-noon to draft your blog post. During that time, aim to avoid distractions of checking your cell phone or e-mails. Instead, motivate yourself with the reminder you only have to remain focused for a certain amount of time. If you don’t finish by the end of the time block, it’s not the end of the world. The act of challenging yourself to beat the clock can make the task feel like a game, and keep you motivated throughout.
4. Be gentle with yourself.
Above all, it’s important to be gentle with yourself. There are likely going to be days where your energy or motivation is low, and it feels difficult to keep on track with your intended goals for the day. Some days, you may come up against an unforeseen circumstance that derails your plans. Even on the days where you feel like you weren’t the most productive or able to get done all that you wanted to, remember to have compassion for yourself. You are enough and doing enough. Though it may be difficult to believe at times, your worth is ultimately not found in what you achieve.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.
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